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Florida Child Custody Reform 2013

There has been a lot of press lately about efforts to reform Florida’s alimony laws.  As discussed on this blog, Senate Bill 718 (which primarily deals with alimony reform) passed the Florida House by a wide margin (85 Yeas versus 31 Nays) and, since it had also passed the Florida Senate, will be going to Governor Rick Scott for his signature.

Update: Governor Scott Vetoes Senate Bill 718

One area that may be even more significant, but has not received as much coverage, is language in Senate Bill 718 that reforms Florida’s child custody laws.  Currently, there is no presumption in favor of or against any child custody schedule, including a 50/50 split custody (known as equal time-sharing).  Senate Bill 718, however, adds language to section 61.13 of the Florida Statutes that seems to make a strong presumption in favor of equal time-sharing.

The text of the child custody provisions of Senate Bill 718 is reproduced below (deleted language is stricken while new language is underlined):

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Mixed Martial Artist Chuck Liddell Requests “Full Custody” of Child. What Should You Request?

TMZ.com reports that retired mixed martial artist Chuck Liddell requested “full custody” of his child in a California courtroom:

Chuck Liddell Requests "Full Custody"

Chuck Liddell Requests “Full Custody”

Chuck Liddell is in an L.A. courtroom asking a judge for full custody of his son, after the boy allegedly told him he didn’t want to live with his mom anymore.

Sources tell us 12-year-old Cade was visiting Chuck from Colorado, where he lives with [his] mom, Lori Geyer.  Chuck claims the boy was depressed and upset and didn’t want to go back.  And, Chuck says, Cade complained that he was “living with a severe toothache for 2 to 3 months.”

Chuck took Cade to a dentist, but feels his son’s “health and safety are at risk.”

Chuck’s lawyer mentioned in court the boy was allegedly abused by being forced to perform physical labor — including snow removal.

Though I frequently use the term “custody” when explaining family law issues to clients, the fact is that Florida courts no longer rule on “custody.”  Instead, a Florida judge will enter an order concerning “time-sharing” and “parental responsibility.”

Though this may seem like mere semantics, it is important to know what to ask for, and what a judge will grant.

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Restrictions on Time-Sharing

Sometimes–such as when there is a history of domestic violence–courts order restrictions on time-sharing.  A video from GetLegal describes options that are available for restricted time-sharing.